I've had two personal Citibank AA credit cards since May of this year. Using the two application trick that I detailed in a previous post, I was approved for both the American Express as well as the Visa Signature card in one swoop. After completing the required spend ($1,500 and $4,000 in 6 months, respectively), I earned 150,000 AAdvantage miles.
Typically for cards that carry an annual fee, I like to cancel before the one year anniversary is up. In this case, each card had an $85 fee that would have been due around May 2012. Lately though, I've been trying to cut down on my available credit just in case I wanted to take advantage of new bonus offers that crop up. For example, I just applied for the Citibank ThankYou Premier card in October and was approved for it.
Last night, I decided to cancel both my Citibank AA cards since I no longer used either of them and they were just taking up excess credit. I first called in to cancel the Visa Signature, and the lady from the retentions department took a look at my account and gave the typical spiel about its benefits. When I asked to continue the cancellation, she then offered an extra 20% on AA miles earned... so effectively the earn rate on the card becomes 1.2 miles per dollar spent. Still not impressed, I told her to go ahead and cancel the account, which she did.
I then called in to cancel the American Express. This time, things got a little more interesting. The gentleman first offered an additional 2 miles per dollar spent (on top of the usual 1 mile per dollar), up to a maximum of 10,000 bonus miles within the next 3 months. I did a quick calculation, and realized that I'd have to spend $5,000 on this card in the next 3 months in order to max out the 10,000 bonus miles. That didn't sound particularly appealing, so I politely declined. He then came back with another offer: spend $500 within the next 3 months, and receive 3,000 bonus miles. This was a much better deal, and I could definitely manage the spend requirement. I agreed to the terms and kept the card (at least for the next 3 months ;)).
Many people who applied for the the Citibank AA cards earlier this year will probably be canceling their accounts within the next few months. It never hurts to call in at least 3 months before your anniversary date since they may offer you some sort of retention bonus. That way, you can take advantage of the offer and still cancel the card prior to your annual fee being charged.